One point from two games and six points off the top was as close to Boca Juniors have been to crisis over the past couple of years but the champions responded in force on Sunday evening and swept aside Vélez Sarsfield at La Bombonera.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto celebrating his 100th game in charge of Boca finally did away with his false nine experiment and started Ramón Ábila in attack with the rewards obvious.
It was the burly Wanchope, who slipped the ball in behind the Vélez defence midway through the first half to free Cristian Pavón and the Argentina forward raced clear to emphatically finish across Alexander Domínguez.
Ahead of another Argentina call-up Pavón was instrumental and before the break, the 22-year-old slipped in Carlos Tevez. Gastón Giménez was caught on the wrong side and when the two collided, referee Fernando Echenique pointed to the spot allowing Edwin Cardona to double the lead.
Coming from two-down the chances of Vélez getting something were slim but the visitors did make a lively start to the second half with a couple of shots from distance going close.
Carlos Tevez almost added a third with a wonderful lob from distance and substitute Darío Benedetto clattered a shot against the bar before eventually combining with Sebastián Villa for Boca’s third. The Colombian increasingly looks like a ready-made replacement for Pavón and his one-two with Benedetto and powerful finish after sprinting clear was straight from the Pavón playbook.
Victory lifts Boca up into third, only three points behind Racing, and the champions remain favourites.
Boca Juniors 3 – 0 Vélez Sarsfield
Earlier in Mar del Plata, Tigre picked up a vital three points in their bid to avoid relegation.
A lightening quick start by Cristian Ledesma’s side two-up inside five minutes as first Diego Vera headed in from close range and then Lucas Menossi cut in from the right to bend in a superb second.
Tigre, having drawn each of their previous three games 2-2, were not in the clear just yet but on this occasion Aldosivi could not find a way through. El Matador held on for the points and while Tigre remain firmly in the relegation zone, the second best attack in the league have at least shown signs that they are capable of escaping.
Aldosivi 0 – 2 Tigre
And finally, the weekend’s big derby was by Colón midfielder Adrián Bastía’s own admission a really ugly match. The 39-year-old announcing his retirement at the end of the season was just about the highlight in what was a dreadful Clásico Santafesino.
Unión had the best chance when Jonathan Bottinelli headed wide from a first half corner but there was little of any note in a game which didn’t even see the customary red cards and handbags.